Sunita Giri 11:10 PM |

As a child, who grew up in Bal Mandir; I know this very clearly that, people from outside finds us different, compared to the one who grew up in family. Regardless of the inbuilt flaws that had in the people, who grew up in family and the virtue of Bal Mandir  children had always ignored grossly.

Outsiders; could mean anyone, who did not live our life in Bal Mandir. They could be our classmates, teacher or staff in the school, or even people who were in management and staff at the Nepal Children’s Organisation. They sure, did find us different. Different in what way ? Why we were different that others, who grew up in family ? How stark was that differences ? Some the the differences was that our classmate said we stay in Bal Mandir and we don’t have our parents and we eat steam rice. The last words was said, in a way that is very derogatory and that had the power to shirk our ego which never puffed up in anyone who ever lived in Bal Mandir. Some doctors advise some people to eat steam rise due to health reasons, but we eat it without his prescription.

So it was not easy to find out the core differences that resides with us as a child who grew up in Bal Mandir.  This is my pure objective to find out the real differences between me and the others who grew up in family and then post it in my blog or one day publish it. But one question always remained in my mind, why people finds us different and what is that thing which hammers that believe; that we are different ? but that tangle almost got untangled during one of my visit to Mrs Shrestha’s residence couple of years ago.

It may have been around 2007 or early 2008; I am just quite not sure about the exact time. I had gone to see Mrs. Shrestha. She was in the Bal Mandir management, when I was there. It was purely a courtesy visit, because she once did favour to me by finding a sponsor of course, he is none other than Bernhard Rutz from Switzerland, who not only help me finish my college education but more than what I even could imagine. The truth is that Bernhard came forward to say to her find me two person I will help them to go college. It so happened that I was in her mind, at that time.

Over the years, I have observed myself, that I do not visit her much to show my gratitude   for what she did once to me. But then I remember, why those visits were so limited, why I hold myself back to pay more of such visit to her.

Its so happened that during that visit, the talk went back to the memory lane; when we both were in Bal Mandir and she was trying to share some of the things with me, how the children behaved there.  She finds me different compared to others, who have full of stories hard to be forgotten or overruled. She said that, some of the children in Bal Mandir behaved like a juvenile child. It may be simple saying to her or to anyone but, that line   is what stunned me and numbed my conscience.  

In my vague memory, today, I do remember asking her, “did they behaved like that ? because it was not the same case when I was there”. She said, “it was and maybe I was too young then to know all about it.”

Do I live in denial to accept that children in Bal Mandir used to behave like juvenile children ? But I never encountered such behaviour there, and I was not a two days guest or two months volunteer there. I stayed inside it for 14 years. One of the behaviour issue, which I remember is a fight that broke in two big girls. These two girls were to fight and they fixed a day for the same. A girl, whose name is Ram Kumari, on the day of fight, oiled her hair and braided it tightly, making it hard for  the other girl, wanting to pull it. Needless to tell, the other girl whose name could be SanuMaya or Sita Devi [not sure of the exact name] was not at all prepared of her tactic; she was the one whose hair got pulled so badly.

Obviously, due to its nature, it was much remebered event, even when I grew up bit old.  This is one of the bad behaved situation, which I remember till date. But this is just the girl fight. My question is, does this kind of fight breaks only in Bal Mandir ? To make us that much different than others ?  One of the thing which I have observed that, we are less respectful to the elders, but that is what we grew up observing them. It only reminded me of an old saying, respect by command not by demand.

How normal the life in Bal Mandir has to be to make us normal or kind of accepted by the people who grew up in family ? Who is responsible to fuel the thought that keeps alive; that we are different than others ?  Of course, there are many unusual stories, but everyone has some kind of story to share and some to hide. Some say it that, everyone has a skeleton to hide in their closet.

Then why its so different, when it comes from Bal Mandir and from a family who has a skeleton to hide ?

What kind of normalcy people expect from the children, who grow up in Bal Mandir or any children’s home ? Why its been ignored that some of the differences can't be the same never ever, just like that man and woman who grows up together but stark difference always remain the same.

Children in Bal Mandir, may have been intolerable at times, due to the big number of children, but yet they were not to the extent, that people call them they were as uncontrollable and had the killer instinct. I do not remember one single incident one of the adult nannies or male staff was beaten to death due to uncontrollable anger a teenager ever faced, not when I was in not when I am out of it.
Of course, we hated our nannies, housemothers and staff of the NCO; who at times were so damn annoying, but which teenage children do not have differences with their parents ? when was the golden era, teenagers were not rebellious to the condition that lied in the society ?

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